Friday, December 26, 2008


I wore a set of longjohns underneath my jeans and had my uncle's wool navy watch cap on my head; my mom cut two eyeholes in it so I wore it down to my neck and she wrapped a scarf around it and tucked it in to my coat. She wouldn't let me go outside without making sure I was dressed properly.

It was cold outside, but no wind. Snowflakes--big, heavy ones--fell so thick I could barely see my friends on the levee not 100 yards away. I ran out the gate, my warm breath condensing on the inside, wetting my lips.

My American Flyer sled flew down the levee dozens of times, faster than the others, and the snowflakes coated my eyebrows. It was always wet snow in southern Illinois, not the powdery stuff, since we were so close to the river, and snowballs were easy to make. Lifesized ones, too. We had a great time, zipping down the hill, running back up, zipping down again, repeat...snowballs flew at the moving targets, but no one got hurt today.

By the time mom called me I was wet, shivering with the cold, my nose beginning to run and to freeze despite the wool. I was glad she called, and I left my friends to go in for some hot chicken noodle soup. What a great morning. I prayed it would keep snowing so I could go back out after my clothes dried and the soup warmed me up. Unless I was hurt, mom would let me. So if I was sore, I never let her know it. It was fun when I was a kid.

Now I'm in southern California...and the snow is above 4000 feet. Can't quite run up that hill at all! But I remember the taste and feel of the snowflakes of my childhood. I wish I could go back to that levee of so long ago.

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